Center for Distributed Quantum Information

CDQI 2nd Annual Review Meeting 23 March, 2017 at University of Wisconsin

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Center for Distributed Quantum Information (CDQI) is a collaborative basic research effort connecting ARL, academic, industrial and other government researchers to develop a multi-site, multi-node, modular quantum network based on resilient distributed quantum entanglement preserved by quantum memory and quantum error correction. The Center will explore the fundamentals of a quantum network physical layer, with the long-term objective of identifying and providing beyond-classical capabilities for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance for stationary and mobile Army elements. Distributed quantum systems may ultimately provide the enabling foundation for many capabilities and applications that are impossible or impractical to achieve through classical means, including quantum teleportation-based, tamper-evident, secure, long-haul communications; a network of high-precision globally-synchronized atomic clocks; and a network of quantum sensors with quantum-limited sensitivity. By contrast, the applications of weak coherent state quantum key distribution, quantum computing, and quantum sensing are not of primary interest to this program.


Great advances have been made to increase the fidelity of critical quantum components needed to establish a resilient network of quantum entangled resources in various atomic and solid-state systems. Indeed, although several research groups have demonstrated point-to-point quantum teleportation, entanglement distribution, quantum error correction, and quantum memory, no scalable, integrated, modular architecture exists by which one can connect three or more small quantum nodes and through which quantum information may be processed. The CDQI endeavors to develop and demonstrate such a scalable architecture for an entanglement-based distributed quantum network; to establish the physical-layer protocols and algorithms for this architecture composed of integrated, modular components; to implement quantum error correction applicable to quantum repeaters and memories; to explore Army-relevant applications for such a network; and to identify performance limitations of a distributed heterogeneous quantum network that must be overcome or are fundamental.

Research & Technical Objectives

  • Study the essential elements necessary for implementing and exploiting a resilient, scalable multi-node network of distributed quantum entanglement through synergistic, multidisciplinary collaborations composed of experimental, theoretical, and computational researchers
  • Research how quantum entanglement is created, efficiently converted to and from photons whose wavelength is appropriate for transmission through free space or optical fiber, distributed among three or more quantum nodes, protected through error correction, locally stored and recovered on demand with high fidelity using quantum memory, and utilized to perform quantum operations that enable capabilities beyond what is possible classically.
  • Investigate the physical layer and the associated protocols and algorithms necessary to demonstrate a working scalable quantum network composed of three or more quantum nodes, recognizing that quantum nodes need not be the same physical system (e.g. trapped ions, neutral atoms, nitrogen-vacancies in diamond, superconductors, semiconductor spins) but that all quantum nodes must include integrated, modular components to generate, process, and locally store quantum information and be resiliently connected by fiber-based or free-space photonic links.
  • Establish efficient entanglement management protocols (e.g. entanglement routing, characterizing and manipulating multi-site entanglement, and entanglement verification) with experimental validation in the context of a multi-site (three or more nodes) distributed quantum network
  • Explore applications for which the quantum network can perform Army-relevant operations in a manner impossible or impractical for commensurate classical systems

Contact Information

Center Members

The CDQI consists of four teams led by:

  • University of Chicago, PI Andrew Cleland
  • University of Maryland, PI Edo Waks
  • University of Innsbruck, PIs Tracy Northup and Ben Lanyon
  • University of Wisconsin, PI Mark Saffman

Program Announcements

Important Dates

  • 14 August 2014 - Special Notice released on
  • 14 September 2014 at 11:59 PM (EDT) - Last day to submit Q&A's
  • Monday, 29 September 2014 at 11:59 PM (EDT) - Whitepapers due
  • Late October 2014 - Whitepaper evaluations complete
  • Monday, 15 December 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST) - INVITED Proposals due
  • Late January 2014 - Proposal evaluations complete and award selections made
  • 06-07 July 2015 - CDQI kick-off meeting at ARL (Adelphi, MD)
  • 07-08 Dec 2015 - 1st CDQI annual review meeting at University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
  • 23 March, 2017 - 2nd CDQI annual review meeting at University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI)

ARL Intramural Effort

Although ARL's in-house program in quantum information science (QIS) is nascent, it builds on a wide variety of capabilities within its directorates and on the extramural ARO program. The goal is to seek the greatest opportunities for academic and industry scientists and engineers to collaborate alongside Army scientists and engineers both inside and outside our facilities. A general outline of our QIS-related activities can be found in ARL's Open Campus Opportunities document. Among the ARL activities most closely associated with QIS of particular interest to offerors are our expansive micro- and nano-fabrication and characterization facilities, our extensive program in network science, our expertise in devices and material science, and our program in control and systems engineering of complex platforms. In addition, ARL is expanding our internal program on QIS, whose goal is experimentally investigating and theoretically modeling a small scalable quantum network of remotely situated hybrid quantum nodes, connected either through free-space or optical fiber across distances ranging from 100 m to 10 km.


Last Update / Reviewed: June 29, 2016